“Some nights, alone, he thinks of her, and some nights, alone, she thinks of him. Some night these thoughts, separated by miles and time zones, occur at the same objective moment, and they are connected without ever knowing it.” ―Shopgirl, Steve Martin
I’ve been around a long time, and young men, if there is one thing I know, it is that the only way to kiss a girl for the first time is to look like you want to and intend to, and move in fast enough to seem eager but slow enough to give her a chance to say “So anyway …” and look up as if she’s trying to remember your name.
Roger Ebert, “Shopgirl,” Chicago Sun-Times (October 28, 2005)
She has learned that her body is precious and it mustn’t be offered carelessly ever again, as it holds a direct connection to her heart. She sheathes herself in a protective envelope of caution and learns never to give away more than is being given to her.
Mirabelle takes months to accept Jeremy, and Jeremy patiently waits. Where his insight comes from as he courts her, even he doesn’t know…. But unlike Ray Porter, his love is fearless and without reservation. As Jeremy offers her more of his heart, she offers equal parts of herself in return. One night, sooner than she would have liked, which made it irresistible, they make love for the second time in two years. But this time, Jeremy holds her for a long while, and they connect in a deep and profound way. At this point, Jeremy surpasses Mr. Ray Porter as a lover of Mirabelle, because as clumsy as he is, what he offers her is tender and true.
Starring: Claire Danes, Steve Martin, Jason Schwartzman, Brigette Wilson-Sampras
Synopsis: Mirabelle Buttersfield is a twentysomething aspiring artist who works at the glove counter at Saks Fifth Avenue in Beverley Hills. Her life his fairly drab: she goes to work, struggles under the weight of her student loans, and occasionally lets herself shine though her pictures: which she doesn’t show. However, things change when two very different men arrive in her life. Jeremy is a socially awkward, somewhat immature young man who Mirabelle meets at a laundromat. She gives him a chance, aching for any kind of connection. Ray Porter is a sophisticated, wealthy, older, divorced man who attempts to sweep her off her feet. The choice seems like a no-brainer at first. But Mirabelle has a lot of growth to do herself before she’s really for what either of these men offer.
My Thoughts: This screenplay of this film was written by Steve Martin, who adapted it from his own novella of the same name. It’s remarkable how he managed to get so intimately inside the mind of a much younger female character. Ultimately this is very much a romance but it doesn’t follow a romcom formula. It’s about two people who have a connection but aren’t ready for each other yet. They’re not mature enough emotionally. So life takes them in different directions and towards different relationships that help them grow. I think that in many ways this is less a film about “falling in love” and more one about “growing into love”. I also want to give a shout out for Claire Danes sensitive, understated performance as Mirabelle. It was Oscar worthy work, that the academy ignored.